Emotional and spiritual: understanding our feelings in the moment of now and those feelings are equal to the actual experience of now. In my case I never learned my true emotional range and never understood feelings in the moment of now until I put down the bottle, got ready for the rollercoaster of emotions and tried to understand what they were. Without denial, my second-best friend which ran a very close second to the drink, I would have broken long before and found rock bottom much earlier and I did. When we stop trying to think what life should be, and start to experience life as it is, we have a daunting prospect some may call, "the cold light of day."
My last detox, supported by Fellowship, by going to meetings and living the cold light of day, it was truly uncomfortable. I had accepted that life was going to be very difficult without a drink inside me, because all my feelings started to erupt in a most unhelpful way. I never experienced fear quite so badly and had it not been for the meetings of the Fellowship, I would have gone mad at the prospect of no drink and no respite. I was reminded last night of just how horrible those early days are when feelings are extreme because we are in an extreme situation, facing an eruption of emotion and not knowing what these emotions are.
Over the last week it feels like a reconnection to Fellowship. I had a lot of writing and administrative work to do, all about recovery of course and yet without meetings I can lose the context of what I'm doing. I can be driven by the task and forget self-maintenance very quickly. And going to quite a few meetings was marvellous, to see people I know, to meet new people just starting the journey and some decades of recovery.
Somebody said recently, "I'm not a doctor, and the doctor's opinion in the big book reminds me that I am an alcoholic and not a professional. At the same time there are many who feel they are doctors in AA even though they don't have any qualifications and yet they will tell you what to do." Of course he is right, many find their path which is right for them, but it does not mean it is right for me or you. The emphasis always is principles and not personalities. The principles: 12 steps and 12 traditions and then the many stories which show the similarities and not the differences. That is the beauty of principles, each individual works the principles and lives them as best they can. Each individual on their personal journey, living the principles in their own personal way. Maximum diversity of outlooks and experiences with some simple principles of living.
Connecting with people I haven't seen for some time, the breadth of life they are living, the similarities of the emotional and spiritual journey. How to love, how to be loved back, still we can misinterpret and slide back into old opinions about ourselves. Are we good enough, are we in competition, what if I'm missing something and should be exploring the endless possibilities rather than putting down some roots and sticking with what is working? The grass is always greener? And of course it isn't. We can be fearful of love because we fear rejection and we can reject love from others out of hand or simply because it hurts to love. Everything takes time, and the solution is always in expression, discussion, telling each other the truth and not trying to sugar-coat or evade feelings. The more we think about the feelings we ought to have, the less likely that we can develop and experience them.
Seems like procreation has been occurring in my absence and all the stresses and strains that that develops in the humans currently making more humans. Testing times, not only do the hormones of women change, so too the hormones of men, and they don't know it usually. Is it any wonder, when feelings are up and down and relationships are developing with the arrival of new life, that it can be easy to undermine what is a beautiful experience as nature intended. Thinking! Expressing our thinking and expectations, rather than expressing feelings and coping with reality will cause many fractious moments, rather than finding serenity in the tempestuous nature of living.
I will share if I can, get back to feelings and share them in the moment of now, not because I am clever, not because I know better. It is just my experience; if we share feelings in the moment of now we can cope with them, no matter what the prospect because we really understand if we do love unconditionally. And we cannot know the feelings until the feelings are felt in the current conditions, contingent on telling the truth and accepting what is happening right now.
The 12 steps and 12 traditions, as we live them, they offer choice and freedom in the moment of now. And unfortunately one of the underlying truths of the 12 steps and 12 traditions is that we get very good at self-appraisal which can then lead into appraising and judging others by our own standards, opinions and beliefs. This is why the old adage, "Judge not…" Because as you judge another person, you can guarantee they have made a judgement about you.
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